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  • Fat Friends… and the Opposite

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on October 29th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Recently I met up with Dan in Madison to watch the Illini vs. the Wisconsin Badgers (we lost). Dan and I talk a lot via the web but usually only see each other a few times a year (during Bears games) but we correspond a lot. Any reader of this blog knows that Dan is quite the fitness fanatic / zealot and has really done a lot to get in tremendous shape over the last few years.

    Seeing Dan reminded me of some research that I saw on friends… from this BBC article

    Fat Friends Can Boost Your Size

    The work, by scientists at the University of Warwick, Dartmouth College, and the University of Leuven, is being presented to an economics conference in Cambridge Massachusetts. They suggest choices about appearance, on which decisions such as job offers or being deemed attractive are based, are determined by the choices others around you make. So, if people around you are fat, it is permissible for you to be fat too.”

    Thus hanging out with Dan reminds me that while I am getting a bit smaller, I have a long way to go. One thing that isn’t helping is the AMAZINGLY large portions of food that are dispensed to me continuously. Above is a photo of food from a local Italian restaurant (a chain) called Maggianos – these is one HALF order of pasta and meatballs with a HALF order of stuffed mushrooms. We take the 1/2 order and cut it into essentially quarters and it is still too much food (we won’t get those mushrooms again… they expanded like balloons in my stomach). This is for two people. Who needs to eat that much food?

    Maybe if I had different friends…

    Cross posted at LITGM


    6 Responses to “Fat Friends… and the Opposite”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      Trouble is, food is too cheap. A dollar buys a lot more food than it did just 30 years ago. On the other hand, skilled labor that can produce high quality dishes is more expensive. As a result, restaurants compete by serving large portions of foods produced with low skill labor.

      We need chef bots!

    2. MD Says:

      Yeah, lately I’ve taken to ordering things ‘family’ style with my dinner companions. If we are, say, three, we order one salad, one appetizer, and one entree and share. It’s much nicer, you don’t overeat and you get more of a taste of different things.

      (During my Chicagoboyz meetup with Tatyana we went to Macy’s and one of their cafes on the top floor had a half-sandwich, cup of soup combo (with a slice of pie :) )that I liked because of the small portions. It’s not just the portion size – lots of chain restaurants put too much ‘goop’ on sandwiches like too much mayo or mustard. Too goopy!)

      (And, yet, I like some of those all you can eat places. I can’t explain it, I’m not a big eater).

    3. Tatyana Says:

      MD, you call it small portion?
      I was just going to note that everything I ate in Chicago seemed to come in really large size, either at Park Grill, or at Macy’s (lsecond half of my sandwich I finished up only because of childhood-instilled principles of “clean plate society”), or at Encore cafe ($13.25 for a skyscraper sandwich, a cup of creamed soup, chips, cole slaw, glass of lemon water – and a choc-chip cookie on a house! I could feed a family of three on that)
      Even taxis are at half NY rate in Chicago!
      It’s a magical city.

    4. MD Says:

      Haha, I had the half sandwich, not the whole, and ate the pie later (I actually carried it back on the train with me, cheepo that I am!)

      Actually, one of the things I noticed when I moved back to Chicago from Boston was how huge and heavy the portions were. Still, I’m glad I came back. The quality of life difference is pretty big for me.

    5. ElamBend Says:

      It is indeed easy to eat large in Chicago.

    6. Stan in Sugar Land Says:

      No fear, our politicans have solved the obesity problem – they insure higher food prices, therefore we will eat less, simple economics!